The EU Study Programme on Spatial Planning is an experiment in networked research, which the European Commission is using as a pilot project to study ways of drawing upon expertise throughout the European Union (EU). The project has 15 National Focal Points, representing all EU Member States. This group works together as a research network to support the European Spatial Development Perspective and EU spatial planning initiatives as part of the next round of the structural funding programmes for 2000-2006. Participation in this Study Programme provides the opportunity for all different teams' research to be applied directly to the European policy-making process. The European Spatial Development Perspective is due to be adopted at the Informal Council of Ministers in Potsdam on 10 May 1999. The Programme involves three strands of work: - Analysis of the components of the European territory; - Studies of new relationships between urban and rural areas in Europe; - The development of graphical modes of representation of development trajectories and options in the European territory. If the network approach proves successful, Member States will consider how a more permanent research network across Europe, the European Spatial Planning Observatory Network (ESPON), might be set up. The overall programme should provide an opportunity to develop ideas about territorial development and spatial strategy across Europe.